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Marita Sølberg

CD Button The Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Fiore. No texts. Simax Classics PSC1336

Recordings Solberg Cover 1116
Critics Choice Button 1015

FROM THE FIRST NOTES of “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana,” from Catalani’s La Wally, Marita Sølberg compels attention. In addition to her glossy, well-controlled soprano, Sølberg is a subtle, sensitive musician. Her approach is delicate without being tentative, and she has a talent for probing the essence of each aria with a disarming directness. The Catalani is one of a few offbeat additions to her compilation of the usual lyric-soprano calling cards. She also offers a gracefully passionate “O, ne riday, moy Paolo,” from Rachmaninoff’s Francesca da Rimini, and a celestially floated “Wie umgibst du mich mit Frieden,” from Strauss’s Liebe der Danae. (Can she please record Vier Letzte Lieder next?) Gounod’s “Ah! Je veux vivre” has an unforced, youthful brilliance, and she offers pure, flexible fioritura in “Oh! quante volte,” from I Capuleti e i Montecchi. “Comme autrefois dans la nuit sombre,” from Les Pêcheurs de Perles, reveals a sensual shimmer.

Her tone takes on a duskier complexion in Rusalka’s song to the moon without adding weight, building to a climax that isn’t overdone. Her “Ave Maria, piena di grazia” suggests a Desdemona of strength and vulnerability. Liù’s two arias are clear and plaintive, and she adds an additional patina of openhearted warmth to “Mi chiamano Mimì” that never retreats into coyness. That warmth takes on a more womanly roundness as it radiates through the Countess’s two arias from Le Nozze di Figaro

John Fiore leads the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra with vigor and authority. There are no texts, but Sølberg’s is a voice that communicates directly heart to heart, rendering literal translations somewhat beside the point.  —Joanne Sydney Lessner

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